Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava music at its best MA Jan Žemla, CEO of the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava (JFO), was born in 1981 in Brno, and lives in South Moravia. He graduated from Masaryk University in Brno (Master of Arts in Music Theory) and since 2007 he has been the Programme Manager of Brno Philharmonic. Mr Žemla was appointed CEO of the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava in 2012. He is a member of the Artistic Board of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ostrava and the Artistic Board of the Brno International Music Festival. He is a member of the core team preparing construction of the new concert hall in Ostrava, and has recently been appointed as a member and Chairman of the Managing Board of the Cultural Centre, Dům kultury města Ostravy. Are you more of a musician or a manager? How does it feel to manage such a great orchestra? I would love to say that I am definitely a musician, yet my current job is mostly managerial. I am a manager in a very special field in which I am well qualified. Basically all my managerial activities are closely related to arts, and the result is an art form, a concert in our case. Art and music in their best form and performance possible is my main managerial motivation. Managing an orchestra is a very fulfilling, and meaningful responsibility. From time to time it just gets to be routine,, but occasionally it’s a bit uncomfortable, especially when I have to make compromising decisions not fully corresponding with my point of view. Fortunately, this does not happen often. Being the orchestra CEO is being a diplomat, a psychologist, a good economist in a business, and of course, a master in some social intelligence, making everybody understand that what we do makes real sense. Despite working in the sphere of the arts, I still try to keepa down-to-earth attitude. Again, let me stress that I cannot imagine anybody doing this job without a proper education in the field.
Being the orchestra CEO is being a diplomat, a psychologist. Our magazine aims at an international audience, and because JFO is one of the best exports of the city and our 54 ǀ POSITIV 3/2018
region, please, describe what you offer to foreigners in our region and abroad. Summarized briefly, we deliver quality which can be found at the greatest international stages. I often see that Janáček Philharmony Ostrava stands comparison with world famous orchestras. JFO has an artistic potential which (supported by time invested in preparation of individual projects, and developed by a conductor who shapes the music with their own idea and form) often brings the most extraordinary experience. We also introduce guest artists who now perform in Ostrava as well as in Prague, Vienna or London equally often. In my opinion, going to a concert of JFO has already become an exclusive experience. Artists like Nikolaj Luganskij, Federico Colli and Danjulo Ishizaka are leaders in their field. Sports fans are excited when star athletes like Usain Bolt come to our city, music fans can meet artists of such a high rank twice a month, not only once a year.
In my opinion, going to a concert of JFO has already become an exclusive experience. Which unusual locations have you played recently, and where would you like to go next? JFO has already played on everty continent, the orchestra travels abroad on a regular basis, and often plays at festivals primarily focused on different genres, such as Colours of Ostrava, Štěrkovna Open Music. My dream came true quite